St Patrick’s Site Blessing

Date: 06 Dec 2023

The Dilworth Community celebrated a significant milestone yesterday as members of the Trust Board and School came together with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and the Anglican Diocese of Auckland, to bless the ground on which the new St Patrick’s Chapel and Community Centre will stand. 

Dilworth was honoured by the presence of Nick Hawke, Kaumātua of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and The Right Reverend Ross Bay, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland, in the dawn ceremony. The delegation gathered onsite and the whakaritenga was led by Kaumātua Nick Hawke, including blessings by Bishop Ross Bay.

The need for a new chapel and space for the community to come together has long been recognised. The relocation of Year 9 students to the Senior Campus has seen the current chapel and hall at capacity with inadequate seating for students, staff and whānau, and allowing no room for expansion of the school roll over coming years. The planned new space aims to accommodate the entire school community, embrace bi-cultural values, and celebrate the unique and diverse range of cultures at Dilworth School.

Designed by renowned architects Jazmax, the new building will be designed as a centre for everyone - it will be modern, welcoming, and full of light. It will hold a strong connection to the existing school and chapel, have a deep connection to nature through framed views and naturally filtered light, and will also represent a gateway to the School, opening its doors to the wider Dilworth whānau and community.

Following the blessing, through mihi and waiata Mr Jacob De Berry, Teacher in Charge of Te Reo and Tikanga Māori - along with Dilworth student representatives - acknowledged Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and the Anglican Diocese of Auckland for preparing the site. Kaumātua Hawke addressed the gathering and spoke of the significant journey and history of his people and their deep connection as tangata whenua.

Mr Aaron Snodgrass, Chairman of the Dilworth Trust Board also recalled the history of James and Isabella Dilworth and the origins of the school as it stands today.

The morning’s events concluded with shared kai as a process of whakanoa to return those involved to a normal spiritual state.

The ground for St Patrick’s will be broken this week with building commencing in the New Year. The new St Patrick’s is anticipated to open in mid-2025, signalling a new chapter for Dilworth with a stunning new space for everyone to come together and enjoy.